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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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The 2021 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) Streaming, announced this year’s juried film award winners








·      Playing with Sharks and Everything in the End tie for Audience Award

·      See You Then and Searchers win Best Narrative & Documentary Feature Film

·      Marvelous & The Black Hole and Kid Candidate score One in A Million Awards

·      Tiger Girl receives $25,000 Ford Producers Grant


Sun Valley, ID…. The 2021 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) Streaming, announced this year’s juried film award winners during the annual Awards Bash on IG Live, hosted by SVFF and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. SVFF Streaming took place from April 14-18, 2021.


SVFF Film Awards


Audience Award - The films which received the most votes from audience attendees.


Playing With Sharks, writer, director Sally Atiken

From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the incredible story of pioneering Australian scuba diver and conservationist Valerie Taylor, who has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding our fear of sharks and whose footage has been featured in trailblazing films such as Jaws.


Everything in the End, writer, director, producer Mylissa Fitzsimmons

Stranded in a small village during Earth's final days, a man seeks solace in the brief human connections he encounters.


SHORT/EPISODIC WINNER: SVFF Shorts package, which included the following films:

·      “Bruiser,” director Miles Warren

·      “Rebel,” director Pier-Philippe Chevigny

·      “What I See When I Look,” director Lindsay Calleran

·      “Fort Irwin,” director. Quinn Else

·      “My Hero,” director Logan Jackson

·      “Dustin,” director Naïla Guiguet

·      “Ghost Girl,” director Paavo Hanninen

·      “I Really Love This Piece,” director Graham Goldstein


Best Narrative Feature Film - Awarded to the best narrative feature film in the festival. The award was presented by 2021 SVFF Vision Award recipient Ethan Hawke.

WINNER: See You Then, director Mari Walker 

A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch-up on their complicated lives, relationships and Kris’ transition. Over the course of a one night encounter, they engage in a series of increasingly intimate and vulnerable conversations, before a shocking revelation is unveiled. 


Best Documentary Feature Film - Awarded to the best documentary feature film in the festival. The award was presented by 2021 SVFF Vision Award recipient Gal Gadot.

WINNER: Searchers, director Pacho Velez

Alternately humorous and touching, Searchers draws on encounters with a diverse set of New Yorkers as they navigate their preferred dating apps, searching for their special someone.


One in a Million Awards - The One in a Million Awards honor feature length stories made for under one million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film are each awarded. The awards were announced by the 2021 SVFF Pioneer Award, presented by Variety, recipient Shaka King. 

NARRATIVE WINNER: Marvelous & The Black Hole, director Kate Tsang

A teenage delinquent befriends a surly magician who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming of age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief and finding hope in the darkest moments.



DOCUMENTARY WINNER: Kid Candidate, director Jasmine Stodel

Helmed by first-time director Jasmine Stodel, this is a funny, irreverent and impactful doc about Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old experimental musician whose viral videos for fake City Council campaigns in Amarillo, TX inspired him to take action and actually run, showing that young people are stepping up to make a difference in their communities.


The SVShorty Award - The best short film across all categories. All shorts are eligible for this award. Two films will share the award this year:

WINNER: Bruiser, director Miles Warren

After his father gets into a fight at a bowling alley, Darious begins to investigate the limitations of his own manhood.


What I See When I Look, director Lindsay Calleran

The filmmaker recreates memories from their childhood to present the complicated dynamics of one family, as observed by a child.



SVFF Film & Screenwriting Competition Winners


Ford Producers Grant - Returning for its second year is the Ford Producers Grant, which continues to showcase Ford’s longstanding commitment to emerging behind-the-camera talent. The finalist will receive the $25,000 Ford Producer’s Grant to take their project one big step closer to reality. The event was hosted by filmmaker Alice Gu (The Donut King).

WINNER: Tiger Girl, director Andrew Thomas Huang

Set in 1967 Los Angeles, Tiger Girl is a coming of age fantasy about a repressed Chinese American teenage girl haunted by a tiger lurking in her attic. When pressured by her immigrant mother’s rigid social expectations, the girl must learn that the beast upstairs is the tiger within that will set her free.


Commenting on the selection Alice Gu said, “Tiger Girl struck me immediately for its originality and uniqueness of story. Beyond the ingenuity, the artistry reflected in Andrew’s vision was breathtakingly imaginative and I really wanted to be able to support this risk-taking film see its way to fruition.”


"Once again all of the submissions were really strong this year,” said Al Uzielli, Head of Ford Global Brand Entertainment. “When we launched this project last year with SVFF, our goal was to find projects like Tiger Girl that we could support with this grant. Ford thanks Alice Gu for being a part of the final selection process and congratulations Andrew and the creative team involved with Tiger Girl.”


High Scribe Award - The High Scribe honors an emerging voice in screenwriting with Bradley Thomas (producer The Mule and All the Money in the World) serving as judge and mentor of the contest. Three finalists were selected which include:  

WINNER: The Paisley Witch Trial, written by Julia Campanelli

Two disenfranchised single mothers, a White midwife with an illicit past and a formerly enslaved Black emancipator, form an uneasy bond when both are arrested for witchcraft in the true, untold story of the last witch hunt in Scotland.


Future Filmmaker Forum - Showcases student-made films and encourages students in their craft, storytelling and self-expression.

HOT SHOT WINNER: Sprout, director Luca Csathy (18) from Rancho Santa Fe, CA


National Geographic FURTHER AWARD - The FURTHER AWARD honors a filmmaker or storyteller who embraces the FURTHER spirit, using their lens to inspire, enlighten and entertain, and celebrate the unexpected stories that take us the extra mile. FURTHER serves as National Geographic’s internal inspiration and aspirational message to the world, exemplifying the desire to take risks and never settle, to be radical about facts and to always be hungry for more.

WINNER: Brian Skerry, renowned National Geographic Explorer and Photographer featured in the Disney+ original series Secrets of the Whales.


SVFF is grateful to have the continued support of longtime festival partners and patrons including Ford Motor Company, National Geographic, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Our Gorongosa, Variety and the community of generous arts supporters.  


About the Sun Valley Film Festival

This year’s Sun Valley Film Festival took place virtually as SVFF Streaming from April 14-18. Since 2012 SVFF has proven to be a concierge of opportunity connecting filmmakers with support both financially and through mentorship. Every spring the Festival celebrates with a slate of cutting-edge films and TV premieres, industry panels, engaging Coffee Talks with entertainment luminaries, a Screenwriters Lab led by award-winning writers and a series of parties culminating with the spectacular SVFF Awards Bash. The Sun Valley Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate and promote the art of filmmaking, and to use the power of storytelling to foster meaningful connections. To learn more, visit Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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